The first game we’ll be discussing in our May mystery game celebration is Jenny LeClue – Detectivu.
(I played the Steam version, but it’s available on most platforms.)
Jenny LeClue was chosen for me to play and review by one of the winners of February’s contest, and although I finished it last month, I held off on my review since I had this mystery month in mind already.
The game primarily follows kid detective Jenny LeClue, but it’s actually a frame story presented by the in-universe author of a series of novels about Jenny. He has been told that his formula is stale since nothing serious ever happens, and his publisher insists he include an actual murder in the next book.
Although the writer is against the idea, he reluctantly goes ahead with it. Jenny, longing for a real case to solve, soon finds herself investigating an actual murder.
At first, I wasn’t too crazy about the premise of this being a fictional story within the game. That always feels like it lessens the stakes somewhat, since it isn’t “real.” However, I grew to enjoy how it allowed for fourth-wall-breaking humor, such as the writer insistently writing about how Jenny will choose a safer option while Jenny ignores that advice.
(As a writer I can confirm that characters can and will act against you if you try to force their behavior.)
It’s an adventure game with occasional puzzles to solve, as well as some detective gameplay. The detective gameplay is fairly simple and usually involves you examining every suspicious aspect of a scene and then connecting these observations to one another to reach a conclusion. There are also a lot of collectibles to find, so it’s important to look over each area carefully before proceeding with the plot.
The dialogue is pretty funny, and there were a number of moments that made me laugh. And despite the distance caused by the story-within-a-story premise, I found myself intrigued by the growing hints of a conspiracy in the quiet town.
Unfortunately, Jenny LeClue ends on a cliffhanger. Not only that, but the whole ending section felt oddly rushed to me. Things were moving along at a nice pace until a sudden revelation that I had mixed feelings about, and then there was an abrupt choice leading to a “to be continued” screen.
The Kickstarter calls it “the first episode of the envisioned trilogy.” The campaign didn’t meet its stretch goals for the subsequent episodes, but the page also says that if they weren’t met, the first game would be a complete story, so I assume a sequel is in development.
Anyway, the ending (or lack thereof) dampened my Jenny LeClue experience a bit, but I found it to be a funny and enjoyable detective adventure game up until that point. If that’s the sort of game you like and you don’t mind a few cliffhangers and unresolved issues, it’s an adventure worth looking into.---
If you want posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, enter your email in the box below to subscribe!